MC joins national consortium focused on preparing faculty with career guidance skills

MC joins national consortium focused on preparing faculty with career guidance skills

July 2, 2019

Maryville College is one of a select group of 26 institutions across the nation chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), in partnership with the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE), to join the national Consortium for Instructional Excellence and Career Guidance, an initiative that aims to prepare up to 500 faculty members to use evidence-based teaching practices shown to promote student success while embedding career guidance into their existing courses.

The program is made possible by a $1.2 million grant from Strada Education Network, a national nonprofit dedicated to strengthening America’s pathways between education and employment.

Through the program, ACUE debuted two new modules that specifically address career readiness: Embedding Career Guidance, in which faculty members learn how to provide frequent, course-embedded information about specific careers, and Preparing Students with 21st-Century Career-Ready Skills, in which faculty members are assisted in developing course content, assignments, and assessments to help students develop “career-ready” skills.

“This new course prepares faculty members to develop students’ critical thinking, leadership, interpersonal, professional skills and more, which are all crucial to success in obtaining and keeping a job,” says Dr. Penny MacCormack, ACUE’s chief academic officer. “These new modules go a step further to guide faculty members in providing specific career examples and skills assessments throughout their coursework.” 

Nineteen Maryville College faculty members recently completed the ACUE certification, “Effective Teaching Practices with a concentration in Career Guidance and Readiness.” The certification is endorsed by the American Council on Education as a leading statement of the skills and knowledge that college educators should possess. The course addresses the following topics: designing an effective course and class; establishing a productive learning environment; using active learning techniques; promoting higher order thinking; and assessing to inform instruction and promote learning.

Dr. Crystal Colter, associate professor of psychology and assistant dean for retention and the first year, served as campus lead for the project. Jan Taylor, lecturer in composition, served as course facilitator, with assistance and support from Christy McDonald and Sarah Yeaple in the Maryville College Career Center.

“One outcome we can see from our ACUE course online discussions and in-person dialogue during our check-in meetings is that faculty participants have shifted their course planning in ways that honor the experiences and contributions of all students, allow for academic success across all students, and promote assessment that ‘catches’ and remedies remaining needs and inequities in the classroom,” Colter said. “Faculty participants are more engaged, intentional and motivated in all aspects of their teaching as a result of the evidence-based techniques learned in the ACUE course, and this is true for newer faculty and more senior/seasoned faculty alike. There are many examples, including new courses/projects, as well as ideas and plans for reinforcing, continuing and spreading the learning in the coming academic year.”

From the beginning, the ACUE course emphasized strong links with the staff and work of the Maryville College Career Center and Maryville College Works, the College’s integrated four-year developmental career preparation program, allowing faculty to view the ACUE course material through the lens of career exploration and career preparation, Colter said.

She added that one key lesson learned from the ACUE experience was that MC faculty were “yearning for the opportunity to grow in their teaching and, given the opportunity, put 110 percent into learning and applying ACUE’s evidence-based teaching techniques.”

“The ACUE course demonstrated to us the power of engaging faculty in an intense, evidence-based program with deep engagement and high expectations,” Colter said. “We will carry the work forward by sharing out what we have learned with the broader faculty and by continuing to examine ways we can continue to support ongoing professional development around teaching.”

Consortium for Instructional Excellence and Career Guidance:

  • Albertus Magnus College (CT)
  • Albion College (MI)
  • Alderson Broaddus University (WV)
  • Bloomfield College (NJ)
  • Briar Cliff University (IA)
  • Butler University (IN)
  • Concordia University Texas (TX)
  • Dillard University (LA)
  • Elmhurst College (IL)
  • Goshen College (IN)
  • Husson University (ME)
  • Lebanon Valley College (PA)
  • Lourdes University (OH)
  • Lynn University (FL)
  • Maryville College (TN)
  • Mills College (CA)
  • Mount Saint Mary’s University (CA)
  • Nebraska Methodist College (NE)
  • Regis College (MA)
  • Roanoke College (VA)
  • Sacred Heart University (CT)
  • Stillman College (AL)
  • Talladega College (AL)
  • Tiffin University (OH)
  • University of La Verne (CA)
  • Wesleyan College (GA)

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.